What is it like in an artist’s studio? Behind the scenes with Vanessa Jackson

Hari By Angharad Mountford, EY Copywriter

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Image copyright Vanessa Jackson RA, http://www.vanessajackson.co.uk

It’s a funny thing, stepping into an artist’s studio. Perhaps it’s like tiptoeing around someone’s bedroom, or opening up a private diary – there’s a feeling that you are entering a sacred space, one in which ideas are formed, decisions are made, creativity is initiated and yet one which also feels strangely out of bounds.

When, therefore, I was lucky enough to attend a studio tour of artist Vanessa Jackson’s creative space in Bermondsey, I felt a strange sense of intrusion. That, however, was quickly dissolved as the handful of people and the artist herself began to talk art and inspiration, techniques and teaching. Over a glass of wine, we all felt thoroughly welcome in this paint-splattered, colourful and inspiring first floor room.

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Lighten Up 2014, Vanessa Jackson

Despite Jackson’s formal art education at the Royal College of Art, her pieces are anything but traditional. Paintings of geometric ideas crossed with modernist lines, all in vibrant hues and clashing colours, line the walls of her studio (you can also see them on display at the Royal Academy). Although intended to be independent pieces, a lot of Vanessa Jackson’s art works incredibly well in sequence and alongside each other.
Her personal sketchbook was not for our eyes, but bar that, Vanessa was open with how she created certain pieces, the fact that a lot of what she did she threw away, and her annoyance when critics brand her work as ‘cubist’.

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Vanessa Jackson, Image courtesy of Royal Academy of Arts

To glimpse the ‘behind the scenes’ activity and space was enlightening, not least to get the artist’s perspective on her own work, but also to talk frankly about the art world in general. Jackson answered every question put forward to her, showed us pretty much anything we wanted to see, and made us all feel thoroughly welcome.

I don’t quite know if I expected a beret-wearing, overalled individual painting at an easel, but my insight into the world of an artist was one which inspired, fascinated and excited me. I now want to be completely and utterly creative.

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Image copyright, Vanessa Jackson RA, http://www.vanessajackson.co.uk

This studio tour was organised by the Royal Academy of Arts  and offered to EY as a benefit of our corporate partnership with them. Access to RA exhibitions is free for employees.


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